What Is a Summary of American History by Judith Ortiz Cofer?

What Is a Summary of American History by Judith Ortiz Cofer?

American History by Judith Ortiz Cofer is a personal essay that explores the author’s encounters with American culture as a Puerto Rican immigrant. In this essay, Cofer reflects on her experiences of growing up in two very different cultures and the various challenges she faced while attempting to assimilate into American society.


The central theme of American History is the struggle for identity and acceptance. As an immigrant, Cofer is caught between two cultures, each with their own set of beliefs and values. She recounts her experiences of trying to fit in with her American peers while still holding onto her Puerto Rican heritage.

Another important theme in this essay is prejudice and discrimination. Cofer describes instances where she was treated differently because of her ethnicity or accent, highlighting the pervasive nature of racism in America.


The tone of American History is reflective and introspective. Cofer uses personal anecdotes to illustrate her points, making the essay both relatable and engaging. Her writing style is clear and concise, allowing readers to easily follow along with her thought process.


The essay is structured around key events in Cofer’s life that helped shape her understanding of American culture. She begins by describing her family’s move from Puerto Rico to New Jersey when she was young, which serves as a starting point for exploring the challenges she faced as an immigrant.

Throughout the essay, Cofer alternates between descriptions of specific incidents and broader reflections on what they mean for her identity. This structure allows readers to see both the immediate impact these events had on Cofer’s life as well as their long-term significance.


American History by Judith Ortiz Cofer is a powerful essay that explores the complexities of identity and assimilation. Through her personal experiences, Cofer highlights the challenges faced by immigrants in America, particularly those from non-white backgrounds.

Overall, this essay serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and celebrating diversity in all its forms.